As we’ve started a new year, and a new decade, many people are taking the time to reflect on who they are now and who they’d like to become. Brands are also tasked with reflecting on how they’re represented in their imagery and messaging. Like people, brands must go through an evolution to keep up with internal changes and remain relevant with what’s happening externally. A few factors that can influence a brand relaunch or rollout are a company acquisition, updates to the organization’s mission statement, a business pivot and time.
So, what is a brand relaunch? It’s the repositioning of who you are and what you stand for in the market, and often starts with changes to an organization’s goals, brand essence and corporate identity. It can vary from a simple refresh to a full-blown redesign. A relaunch provides great benefits for companies like a new/renewed interest from your target audience, aligning your brand elements with audience needs and presenting who you are more authentically. But, before you can reap the benefits of a successful rollout, you need to plan.
By following the six tips below, you can meet your long-term goals for a brand relaunch.
1. Determine Why
This is the time to take a step back and figure out why you want to relaunch. A few reasons that would spark a brand relaunch are mergers, acquisitions, outdated branding or business expansion.
While these are great catalysts to refresh your brand, the “why” is more about what you and your organization want to achieve. Are you hoping to gain larger market share, break away from the competition or release a new product successfully? By knowing what your “why” is, you’ll be able to measure—and celebrate—the final results because you know what success looks like.
2. Take a Look at the Big Picture
You and your team may view your brand in a specific light, but that may not coincide with the external perception of your brand. Be sure to connect with your employees, current and potential customers, and any other stakeholders that come in contact with your brand through interviews to capture a 360-picture of how your brand is perceived.
You can also gain the perspective of stakeholders through competitive research and surveys. How do people feel you stand out from competitors in look and feel? And how could you show what one thing your organization delivers that no one else can? Additionally, you should take a thoughtful look at your industry: Where is it now? Where is it headed? And how should your brand adapt in order to stay relevant in the minds of your audience as a result? By nailing down how your brand is perceived, you can better map out rollout goals that will achieve success.
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3. Get Internal Stakeholders on Board
It requires more than the support of your immediate team to execute a brand relaunch. Rollouts can get pricey and the scope can escalate quickly so it’s imperative that you have leadership on your side. In order to get them on board, you need to clearly communicate the reasons for and outcomes of a successful relaunch. This will help you save time, resources and talent throughout the rollout. Keeping everyone updated along with way will encourage excitement and manage expectations, too.
4. Embrace Emotions
Not all elements of your brand are physical. They’re emotional. To drive meaningful connections with your brand, you need to appeal to the emotions of your audience. Emotions drive purchasing decisions, build deeper relationships, and lead to brand loyalty.
Emotions are important to consider during the planning phase of your brand rollout, so be sure to test different versions of your brand messaging or content before sharing it with the world.
5. To Phase Out Or Flip the Switch?
You need to consider how you want to roll out your brand to the world, and that’s often dictated by the size of your relaunch. You can roll out a brand update in phases, which allows you to reveal new communications to the market quicker. It also means you’ll need to handle two brand presentations during the project. Or, you can wait until your brand update is final, then flip the switch and reveal. This could duplicate efforts while one brand is built and the other is maintained.
Most likely, this decision will be influenced by the resources you have available. Weigh the pros and cons of each rollout approach to find the one best for you. And be sure to communicate the plan to everyone involved to ensure they know what to expect.
6. Timing Is Everything
Change takes time. A rebrand shows that your organization is changing. You must set aside the time and resources to successfully pull off a rebrand and make sure that your audience notices. For example, a full rebrand—including visuals, values, messaging, guidelines and more—can take up to a year (and sometimes even longer!).
When you underestimate lead times for a project of this magnitude, you can miss out on other opportunities, overlook important brand details, burnout your team and yield poor results. That’s why you need to be realistic about timing, budget and executing your project in phases. This will keep things running smoothly for the greatest business results.
Brands are constantly evolving to keep up with change. Whether you’re looking to freshen your messaging or overhaul your entire brand this year, it’s essential you’re equipped with the best strategies for a successful relaunch.
Nina Brakel-Schutt is Director of Creative and Brand Strategy at Widen.